REMINDER: Required Legislation – Language and Communication Plan for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Effective July 1, 2012, Section 11 of Public Act (P.A.) 12-173, entitled an Act Concerning Individualized Education Programs and Other Issues Relating to Special Education, requires that the individualized education program (IEP) of any child identified as deaf or hard of hearing must include a language and communication plan (LCP) developed by the child’s planning and placement team (PPT).  Any child with an identified hearing loss, regardless of whether deafness or hard of hearing is the primary disability category, must have a LCP which documents the considerations and/or actions discussed and identified by the child’s PPT.

The LCP must address:

  • The primary language or mode of communication chosen for the child;
  • Opportunities for direct communication with peers and professional personnel in the primary language or mode of communication for the child;
  • Educational options available to the child;
  • The qualifications of teachers and other professional personnel administering the child’s LCP, including the teachers’ or professionals’ proficiency in the primary language or other mode of communication for the child;
  • The accessibility of academic instruction, school services and extra-curricular activities for the child; and
  • Communication and accommodations in the physical environment for the child.

Section 300.324(a)(2)(iv) of the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) requires that the child’s PPT consider the following areas regarding the communication needs of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing:

The child’s language and communication needs;

  • Opportunities for direct communication with peers and professional personnel in the child’s language and communication mode;
  • The child’s academic level;
  • The child’s full range of needs, including opportunities for direct instruction in the child’s language and mode of communication; and
  • Whether the child’s needs a technology device and/or service(s).

Section 11 of P.A. 12-173 requires documentation of the special considerations outlined in the IDEA and P.A. 12-173 through a LCP developed by the child’s PPT and included in the IEP of each child who is deaf or hard of hearing.  This requirement is reflected on page 10 of the IEP.  The LCP is available on the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) web site at http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/word_docs/deps/special/language_and_communication_plan.doc

The CSDE has made available the LCP since 2009 as a tool recommended for use as a best practice document for children who are deaf or hard of hearing.  The passage of P.A. 12-173 now makes the LCP a required part of the IEP for each child who is deaf or hard of hearing.  The CSDE has posted the LCP as part of the IEP form on the CSDE web site.  To assure that each child’s unique needs are identified and considered in the development of a child’s IEP, the LCP must be developed at the initial IEP for each child who is deaf or hard or hearing and must be reviewed at least annually and revised as appropriate. The LCP as developed and/or revised must be included in the IEP.

Additional LCP resources that are available on the CSDE website include:

Annotated Language and Communication Plan [PDF] http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/deps/special/annotated_language_and_communication_plan.pdf

Language and Communication Plan FAQ’s [PDF] http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/deps/special/faqs_langauge_and_communication_plan.pdf

Memo from Chief Operating Officer – Section 11 of Public Act 12-173: Required Language and Communication Plan for Deaf or Hard of Hearing Students [PDF] http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/deps/special/public_act_12_173_lcp_memo.pdf

Questions regarding the LCP can be directed to Colleen Hayles at 860-713-6922 or via email at colleen.hayles@ct.gov.

 

“Regional Chats” with the Bureau of Special Education’s Bureau Chief, Dr. Isabelina Rodriguez

With a focus on “Evolving Relationships that Work for Kids”, special education directors are invited to chat with Dr. Isabelina Rodriguez during a series of six sessions around the state designed to foster an open dialogue and address topics important to the field. With the first session scheduled for November 20th and the final session for June 17th, Dr. Rodriguez plans to discuss topics such as:

  • Partnerships Aligned with State Regulations and New Laws,
  • Building Capacity of General Education Administrators,
  • Working with Families in the Places Where They Live,
  • Creating Advocacy Opportunities for Students with Disabilities within Boards of Education and Central Office,
  • Working Together to Racially, Culturally, and Linguistically Diversify Our Special Education, and
  • Director’s Workforce, and Developing Community Partners.

For a complete list of sessions, locations and times, please see the following link:

Regional Chats with the Bureau Chief

 

 

Assistive Technology Resource Guide

The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) has published a resource document on assistive technology (AT) called the Connecticut’s Resource Guide of Assistive Technology, Supports and Accommodations for Daily Instruction and Formative, Interim and Summative Assessments.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) states that AT must be considered in the development of the Individualized Education Program (IEP). Students often need assistive technology supports to access instruction and participate in assessments.

The purpose of Connecticut’s Resource Guide of Assistive Technology is to inform educators, instructional staff, parents and students about available resources for consideration during instruction and highlight elements for individualized supports/accommodations that mirror supports utilized during instruction for assessment such as on the Connecticut’s Alternate Assessment (CTAA) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).

Utilizing these resources in conjunction with the Connecticut AT Guidelines during instruction as well as assessment, provides students access to enriched educational experiences, prepares them to be career and college ready, and ensures that positive educational outcomes can be realized for all students.

If you have questions related to the AT Resource Guide and/or AT Guidelines, please contact Thomas Boudreau, Bureau of Special Education, at 860-713-6925 or thomas.boudreau@ct.gov.

 

Paraeducator Needs Assessment Results

Earlier this school year, the University of Connecticut (UCONN) University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) conducted an online statewide survey of paraeducators’ training needs. This survey was based on the Council for Exceptional Children’s (CEC’s) Special Education Paraeducator Common Core Specialty Set (SEPCCSS). SEPCCSS contains 10 professional development guidelines and specific knowledge and skills that paraeducators working with children with disabilities should possess.

Participants were asked to rate their perceptions of their knowledge and skills within each of the SEPCCSS domains: Foundations; Development and Characteristics of Learners; Individual Learning Differences; Instructional Strategies; Learning Environments and Social Interactions; Language; Instructional Planning; Assessment; Professional and Ethical Practice; and Collaboration. In addition, participants were asked one open-ended question concerning the specific topics on which they desired additional training.

Responses were received from 2,438 paraeducators working in public schools in Connecticut. Information about the sample of paraeducators responding to the survey and the students they support is shown below:

  • The sample provided services to students across the PK-12 system, though more paraeducators appear to work in elementary school (1- 4; 31 percent) versus middle (7-8; 13 percent) or high school (9-12; 14 percent).
  • The majority of paraeducators working for greater than 10 years (54 percent) did not have a bachelor’s degree (59 percent) and were not certified as teachers (91 percent).
  • Paraeducators primarily provided services to students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) receiving special education services (85 percent). However, fewer paraeducators had read the relevant pieces of their students’ IEPs (71 percent) or had their roles and responsibilities as mandated by the IEP explained to them (67 percent).
  • Twenty percent of the paraeducators reported not receiving any training in the previous 12 months; of those who reported receiving training, there was considerable variation in the number of training hours reported. Paraeducators also indicated a preference for small group/one-day workshops (51 percent) that were held during school hours (79 percent). Responses also indicated their desire for training on the following topics: specific disabilities, behavior management, technology, general education, language and communication, medical needs of students and the special education process.For additional results from the needs assessment, please visit the UCEDD Web site at: www.uconnucedd.org.

Leveraging Funds to Support Reforms

At a meeting of the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) and the National Association of State Title I Directors (NASTID) Board Members held in August, representatives identified use of funds and “funding flexibilities” as a need for further conversations and technical assistance. The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) and the Office of Special Education Programs are working together to clarify use of funds and identify funding flexibilities within the contexts of current laws.

On September 13, 2013, the United States Department of Education (USDOE), the OESE and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, issued a memorandum to state directors regarding leveraging funds to support reforms, particularly in Title I schoolwide programs. Along with the memorandum, a USDOE resource document titled, Maximizing Flexibility in the Administration of Federal Grants – IDEA, Title I, Title II and Non-Federal Funds in Schoolwide Programs was included. This document is designed to identify, at a high level, examples of how these funds may be used by state education agencies and local education agencies to support college and career ready standards and assessments; state-developed differentiated recognition, accountability and support; effective instruction and leadership; and positive school climate.

To review the memorandum and the resource document, please visit the link below.

Leveraging Funds to Support Reforms memorandum and resource document

Governor’s Coalition for Youth with Disabilities Scholarship

The Governor’s Coalition for Youth with Disabilities (GCYD) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 1996 with the mission of recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of Connecticut high school students with disabilities and promoting educational opportunities to help students achieve their career goals. The GCYD seeks a diverse applicant pool of students for this scholarship.  All applications are due no later than December 31, 2012.

To be eligible to apply for the GCYD scholarship, a student must:

  • be a current graduating high school senior planning to attend a post-secondary school or training program,
  • be a permanent resident of Connecticut (CT residents attending high school outside of the state are eligible), and
  • have a disability under Special Education Law or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

All applications are reviewed by a panel of judges. Scholarship recipients are selected based on a number of factors including:

  • completeness of application and ability to follow application instructions including adhering to page limits and specifications as well as including the required attachments;
  • the manner in which candidates have managed their disabilities to address obstacles in various aspects of their life;
  • the degree to which the candidates have contributed to their school and community through service, leadership, and being a positive role model; and
  • the candidate’s desire for a successful career.

To apply for this scholarship or to assist someone in applying, please access the application through the link below.  Additional information about the scholarship may be found at www.gcyd.org, or e-mail questions to gcydinfo@gmail.com.

2013 GCYD Scholarship Application

Common Core State Standards: Implications for Students Receiving Special Education Services

In February 2011, the International Center for Leadership in Education published a document discussing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Special Education. This publication offers a national perspective as well as guidance related to the implications of the CCSS for students receiving special education services. For an opportunity to review this publication, please follow the link below.

CCSS and Special Education